Cost of Education

By: Lindsay Liepman
By: Lindsay Liepman

The cost of educating a student in the Brazos Valley ranges anywhere from $5,300 to $10,300.

It's typically public schools, not private that are spending the most.

But does more money mean a more successful student?

Allen Academy spends more than $10,300 per student, College Station ISD and Bryan ISD about $7,000, Brazos Christian School about $6,000 and St. Joseph Catholic School spends closer to $5,000.

Bob Meyer the head master at Allen Academy says money is not the only issue.

"It's not just an issue of spending per pupil it's also an issue of the individual pupil in the classroom, they have to participate in their education," says Meyer.

Meyer says smaller class sizes, better paid teachers and the individual attention private schools offer sometimes means higher test scores and more college-bound students.

Allen Academy has an average SAT Score of 1160, College Station 1129, Brazos Christian 1120, St. Joseph 1100 and Bryan 1016.

All are above the state average of 986.

Mike Ball with College Station ISD says demographics have to be taken into account when looking at the stats.

"We're not comparing apples to apples when we're comparing public schools to private schools. We accept anyone who walks in the door if they live within the bounds of our district," says Ball.

Allen Academy's minority population is roughly 10%. St.Joseph Catholic School has 28%. College Station is over 33% minority... Bryan is 62%.

It can be like comparing apples to oranges because public schools educate a more diverse population and offer a multitude of programs and services.

"We want them to have the best possible instruction, the best possible facilities, the best possible opportunities to explore career options and post high school educational options...so the more funds we have the better able to serve these students," says Bryan High School Counselor James Henry.

Last year, Bryan counted 60% of the student population living below the poverty line. Creating a much different atmosphere than a private school.

"One of the reasons why I'm in public education is because I like the challenge of educating anyone who walks into one of our schools," says Henry.

Much of the responsibility lies in the hands of those who cost the most...teachers.

"The real cost of education involves people and the teachers that are in the classrooms working with students everyday. That's where 80 percent of our budget is spent."

That's 60 percent in Bryan, and comparable at private schools.

But with state cuts, public schools may see fewer dollars going to students; money educators say helps each child reaching their potential.

"We would like to see the system be such that the local tax payers and our local stake holders in our district could determine the level of funding that they feel is appropriate based on community standards," says Ball.

And in a community like this that could be costly.

But more money doesn't necessarily mean a more successful student.

Educators agree factors like population size, a student's background and the sheer differences in teaching philosophies are true indicators of a student's success.


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